Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are
scheduled to meet after Passover for the highest-level meeting between the two
sides since September 2010, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said
Palestinian Authority officials, confirming that the meeting
would take place in Jerusalem, said Fayyad would deliver a long-awaited letter
to Netanyahu. A senior PA official said that the letter would not contain any
threats, such as the dismantlement of the PA.
Israel, as first reported
Wednesday in The Jerusalem Post, will present the Palestinians with a letter of
This letter is expected to state that Israel is prepared for
peace talks with the Palestinians where all the core issues will be on the
agenda; that it places no preconditions whatsoever on entering the talks; and
that any agreement reached must contain Palestinian recognition of Israel as the
nation-state of the Jewish people, and include effective security
Israeli and Palestinian officials have not met since a
round of low-level talks in Jordan broke off on January 25, after five
Fayyad will be accompanied by chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat
and PLO Secretary- General Yasser Abed Rabbo, said Nimer Hammad, political
adviser to Abbas. Netanyahu will be joined in the meeting by his negotiator,
Hammad said Abbas’s letter would reiterate the PA’s declared policy of staying
away from the peace talks until Israel freezes construction in the settlements
and east Jerusalem and recognizes the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a
The letter will also call for the release of
Palestinian prisoners who were jailed by Israel prior to the signing of the Oslo
Accords, the official told The Jerusalem Post.
In addition, the letter
will include a demand for canceling all measures that were taken by Israel after
the second intifada, which erupted in September 2000, first and foremost the
removal of checkpoints and the security barrier in the West Bank, he
Erekat said Wednesday that Abbas was seeking clarifications
from the Israeli government regarding its stance toward final-status issues like
borders, refugees, water, security and Jerusalem.
Abbas had initially
planned on sending a strongly-worded letter to Netanyahu that included, among
other things, a threat to dismantle the PA so that Israel would become
responsible for managing the day-today affairs of the Palestinians, his aides
said last week.
They revealed that Abbas was forced to soften his tone
and drop the threat after coming under heavy pressure from the US
Both US Middle East envoy David Hale and Quartet envoy
Tony Blair met with the sides this week for talks aimed, according to one
official, at keeping the sides engaged and the situation stable.
Netanyahu-Fayyad meeting is scheduled to take place a few days after a meeting
of the Quartet – made up of the US, EU, Russia and UN – in Washington this
coming Wednesday. Diplomatic officials said they did not expect any dramatic
statements to emerge from that meeting, but rather a further reiteration of
calls for the sides to engage in negotiations.